São Paulo, January 2020 - Virtual assistants are increasingly present in people's routine, whether to help, answer questions and facilitate daily life. What they all have in common are women's names and the standard female voice, such as Lu, Siri, Alexa, Nat, Bia, etc. According to a study entitled "I'd Blush If I Could" published by UNESCO in May 2019, virtual assistants via Artificial Intelligence suffer from high levels of gender prejudice, although they usually answer with tolerant, subservient and passive phrases. Based on this context, the "Hey Update My Voice" movement was launched in partnership with UNESCO with the objective of drawing attention to cyber education and respect for virtual assistants, and ask companies to update their assistants' responses. If even virtual assistants are harassed, can you imagine how many women are victims of this kind of violence?
While some still consider AI to be beyond the grasp of developing countries, our South American neighbours have been shattering that stereotype. AI is being deployed in a number of their endeavours: to speed up artefact findings in Peru; to increase crop yields in Colombian rice fields through AI-powered platforms; to boost security and enhance customer service in Brazil's banking sector; to create vegan alternatives with the same taste and texture as animal-based foods in Chile's food industry; to predict school dropouts and teenage pregnancy in Argentina; and to forecast crimes in Uruguay. Some of the push in AI adoption in these countries has come from academics and researchers, like the ones at the University of Sao Paulo who are developing AI to determine the susceptibility of patients to disease outbreaks; or Peru's National Engineering University where robots are being used for mine exploration to detect gases; or Argentina's National Scientific and Technical Research Council where AI software is predicting early onset pluripotent stem cell differentiation. These and other truths were revealed to me at a Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Workshop on AI organized by Facebook and the Inter-American Development Bank in Montevideo, Uruguay, in November this year. I was the lone Caribbean participant in attendance, presenting my paper entitled: AI & The Caribbean: A Discussion on Potential Applications & Ethical Considerations, on behalf of the Shridath Ramphal Centre (UWI, Cave Hill).
Bin Packing with Conflicts (BPC) are problems in which items with compatibility constraints must be packed in the least number of bins, not exceeding the capacity of the bins and ensuring that non-conflicting items are packed in each bin. In this work, we introduce the Bin Packing Problem with Compatible Categories (BPCC), a variant of the BPC in which items belong to conflicting or compatible categories, in opposition to the item-by-item incompatibility found in previous literature. It is a common problem in the context of last mile distribution to nanostores located in densely populated areas. To efficiently solve real-life sized instances of the problem, we propose a Variable Neighborhood Search (VNS) metaheuristic algorithm. Computational experiments suggest that the algorithm yields good solutions in very short times while compared to linear integer programming running on a high-performance computing environment.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – iFood is planning to invest US$20 million in opening an AI learning center to strengthen ties with the tech industry. With an expected staff of 100 people by the end of the year, everything from machine learning, deep learning, behavioral science, and logistics will be covered. All of this is part of iFood's US$500 million funding round that began last year. São Paulo-based iFood is one of Latin America's biggest and most successful startup food delivery company. Seeing how the international food delivery ecosystem is worth around US$94 billion, it's easy to understand why iFood takes digital innovations so seriously.
Brazilian clothing retailer Hering will have to clarify whether its experiments around the personalization of its in-store customer experience comply with requirements around privacy. The company has launched a store in a shopping mall in Sao Paulo, dubbed "Hering Experience", where facial recognition technology monitors customer reactions to clothing items. In addition, the space has sensors that identify customer preferences and record heat maps as consumers manifest interest in the available products. Facial-recognition databases used by the FBI and state police hold images of 117 million US adults, according to new research. By using the technologies, Hering can map visitor profiles to customize product offerings based on their reactions and serve up personalized ads.
SAS is due to launch a new service offering geared at helping Brazilian organizations develop their data analytics projects from scratch or develop their existing initiatives. The approach dubbed Agile AX is a world-first for the software firm and aims to deliver a 30 percent reduction in analytics initiatives by providing the skills, infrastructure and tools needed to get projects off the ground. The service will be supported by innovation centers, due to open in Q1 at the company's office São Paulo. Similar initiatives are due to be launched in Mexico and Colombia in the second half of 2019. The venues will encompass coworking spaces for clients and partners as well as startup development and an "experience zone", where the company will be showcasing practical uses of analytics and associated approaches such as machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT).
SAO PAULO/DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. said on Tuesday it will close its oldest factory in Brazil and exit its heavy commercial truck business in South America, a move that could cost more than 2,700 jobs as part of a restructuring meant to end losses around the world. Ford previously said the global reorganization, to impact thousands of jobs and possible plant closures in Europe, would result in $11 billion in charges. Following that announcement, analysts and investors had expected a similar restructuring in South America. Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett said last month that investors would not have to wait long for the South American reorganization plan. The factory slated for closure is in Sao Bernardo do Campo, an industrial suburb of Sao Paulo that has operated since 1967.
IBM is set to launch a research center in the Brazilian city of São Paulo focused on development of solutions around artificial intelligence. The AI center will be the first Latin American institution of IBM's AI Horizons Network. It will be jointly run by the company and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to pursue "a disruptive research program", with the potential to "promote paradigm shifts in AI." The mission for the center will be to create deeper knowledge around the technology and to develop applications that can be of benefit to the industry. Sectors that will potentially benefit from the research center include agribusiness, financial services and healthcare.
Microsoft has announced a new initiative that will see more than 3 million Brazilian students getting trained in themes around artificial intelligence (AI). During the Microsoft AI Tour event in São Paulo, the firm's chief executive Satya Nadella announced the pro-bono partnership with school networks SESI and SENAI to offer AI training in high school courses. During the announcement, Nadella pointed out that governments should accelerate the adoption of automation but create new capabilities at the same time. "We have a tremendous opportunity to generate advances in digital technologies – and specifically in AI – to empower each person and each organization in Brazil to achieve more," Nadella told delegates at the event on Tuesday (12). Four courses are available through the school network's online platform, covering the introduction to AI and data science, data science fundamentals development of solutions using Azure, Bot and IoT.
Microsoft has announced a new initiative that will see more than 3 million Brazilian students getting trained in themes around artificial intelligence (AI). During the Microsoft AI Tour event in São Paulo, the firm's chief executive Satya Nadella announced the pro-bono partnership with school networks SESI and SENAI to offer AI training in high school courses. During the announcement, Nadella pointed out that governments should accelerate the adoption of automation but create new capabilities at the same time. "We have a tremendous opportunity to generate advances in digital technologies - and specifically in AI - to empower each person and each organization in Brazil to achieve more," Nadella told delegates at the event on Tuesday (12). At Structure Security, automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence were key themes.